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Building new computer, must have help

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January 12, 2007 11:35:02 PM

Hello Tomshardware forumites! I am Scryer, and I am horribly boned as it is right now.

I have a budget of about $700-$800, and am trying to build a competent system to last the next 2 and a half years of video gaming. Basically, if today I can run the latest stuff on the top-of-the-line graphics mode and in December of 2009, the latest stuff is finally getting to the low-end graphics settings, I am happy. Of course, those two years include graphics card updates every year (as they get cheaper).

So some questions if I may:
1. I am currently planning on using the E6300 Conroe (I agree, it should be on the CPU charts), but if I go to overclock it (say to 2.2 gigahertz), what is recommended? I do not plan on seriously overclocking it, as I want it to, again, last 2 years (preferably a little more, maybe 3.5 at the max).
2. Dual channel memory: what is it, why is it so great? A friend tells me that if I put 2 gigs of RAM on a motherboard that can hold 4, I need to put in 4 512megabyte chips instead of 2 1-gig. If at all possible I'd like to avoid this so in a year or so, I dont have to buy all new RAM, just 2 more 1 gig chips.
3. To overclock, you need a cooling fan. Stock cooling fans I take it are not really up to the task, but reading into it, it sounds like putting on a Zalman 9500 fan is going to cause damage to the motherboard if I move the PC. So... whats up? Do motherboards really break so easily under that fans weight, or have any of you had problems with it before? Keep in mind that I am going to be moving this PC a TON. Of course, rather than carry the tower up and down I can lay it on its side so the motherboard is horizontal rather than vertical, but I really, really have no desire to break a motherboard.

Or for the benefit of taking no risk, should I just shell out an additional $30 and get a E6400 (or will the clock speeds I want be too much for that stock fan still?)

Oh, and here are the current specs of the machine (I hope unless there is a better way to do it that is mentioned, or the parts I list are of low quality) with Newegg pricing:
E6300 Conroe- $192
2 sticks of SuperTalent 1 gig PC2-5300 RAM (667mhz)- $195.98
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer soundcard- $89.99
ABIT IL9 Pro LGA 775 Intel 945P ATX Intel Motherboard- $84.99
XFX PVT73GUGD3 GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - $115.99 after mail in rebate
Western Digital 7200rpm 180 gig harddrive- $59.99
HIPER HPU-4K530-MS ATX12V v2.2 530W Power Supply 100 -$84.99
Total Cost:$823.93
It breaks the budget, and I have not even added on shipping costs, so this is an uphill fight to lower costs and to make sure the system will be nice and stable.

More about : building computer

January 13, 2007 2:57:18 AM

No replies and 40 something views? Whats this?
January 13, 2007 4:23:07 AM

Quote:
Hello Tomshardware forumites! I am Scryer, and I am horribly boned as it is right now.

I have a budget of about $700-$800, and am trying to build a competent system to last the next 2 and a half years of video gaming. Basically, if today I can run the latest stuff on the top-of-the-line graphics mode and in December of 2009, the latest stuff is finally getting to the low-end graphics settings, I am happy. Of course, those two years include graphics card updates every year (as they get cheaper).

So some questions if I may:
1. I am currently planning on using the E6300 Conroe (I agree, it should be on the CPU charts), but if I go to overclock it (say to 2.2 gigahertz), what is recommended? I do not plan on seriously overclocking it, as I want it to, again, last 2 years (preferably a little more, maybe 3.5 at the max).
2. Dual channel memory: what is it, why is it so great? A friend tells me that if I put 2 gigs of RAM on a motherboard that can hold 4, I need to put in 4 512megabyte chips instead of 2 1-gig. If at all possible I'd like to avoid this so in a year or so, I dont have to buy all new RAM, just 2 more 1 gig chips.
3. To overclock, you need a cooling fan. Stock cooling fans I take it are not really up to the task, but reading into it, it sounds like putting on a Zalman 9500 fan is going to cause damage to the motherboard if I move the PC. So... whats up? Do motherboards really break so easily under that fans weight, or have any of you had problems with it before? Keep in mind that I am going to be moving this PC a TON. Of course, rather than carry the tower up and down I can lay it on its side so the motherboard is horizontal rather than vertical, but I really, really have no desire to break a motherboard.

Or for the benefit of taking no risk, should I just shell out an additional $30 and get a E6400 (or will the clock speeds I want be too much for that stock fan still?)

Oh, and here are the current specs of the machine (I hope unless there is a better way to do it that is mentioned, or the parts I list are of low quality) with Newegg pricing:
E6300 Conroe- $192
2 sticks of SuperTalent 1 gig PC2-5300 RAM (667mhz)- $195.98
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer soundcard- $89.99
ABIT IL9 Pro LGA 775 Intel 945P ATX Intel Motherboard- $84.99
XFX PVT73GUGD3 GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - $115.99 after mail in rebate
Western Digital 7200rpm 180 gig harddrive- $59.99
HIPER HPU-4K530-MS ATX12V v2.2 530W Power Supply 100 -$84.99
Total Cost:$823.93
It breaks the budget, and I have not even added on shipping costs, so this is an uphill fight to lower costs and to make sure the system will be nice and stable.


Shoot for 2 years... it is very dificult to predict what changes will be made past the one year mark.

An overclock slightly above 2GHz is of no concern for the E6300. No additional / aftermarket cooling is needed for that low of an OC.

Dual Channel memory was created to get rid of bottlenecks in system performance... it is basically 2 - 64 bit data lanes that accomodate transfers from RAM to CPU. Your friend may be thinking that spreading out the load for RAM will once again Double the rate but thats not the case and in fact it could cost you performance... so stick with 2 - 1Gigs in dual channel mode(same color slots)

The stock fan once again is just fine for a modest overclock on an E6300.

Your choice on going higher to E6400, but you can easily get the exact same performance from the 6300.

On your choices:
E6300 very good
SuperTalets very good
Creative SB X-Fi...ehh... Don't really need it.(onboard sound is good)
ABIT... not so good, outdated chipset IMHO... I will post a link to some options.
7600GT... could go a little higher for not much money 7900GT
Hiper PSU...no go, nada... you will need to spend some money here.
The Harddrive is probably IDE/PATA... older technology, $20 will get you a SATA 250GB HDD.
What about a DVD/CD burner and Case?
Related resources
January 13, 2007 4:45:37 AM

Here is a comparably priced PSU that will handle your system for years to come:

Antec True Power Trio TP3-550 $95
***ATX12V 550W Power Supply with Three 12V Rails / Efficiency Up to 85% / Nice 12V rails +12V1@18A,+12V2@18A,+12V3@18A,-12V@0.8A / And:

Accurate power rating allows TruePower Trio to deliver its full rated power, 24 hours a day rated at 50ºC
Fan Only power connectors allow TruePower Trio to control case fan speeds, reducing total system noise
Dedicated outputs for stable output and less ripple noise
Feedback loop circuits for tighter load regulation (±3%) to maintain accurate voltage to all components
Heavy duty protection circuitry prevents damage resulting from short circuits (SCP), power overloads (OPP), over voltages (OVP), and under voltages (UVP)
Power Factor value up to 99%
Gold plated connectors for superior conductivity

I did find the Harddrive on Newegg and it was SATA 3Gbs so disregard my statement about your harddrive choice.

Would this Mobo work for you? Gigabyte 965P S3 $108

You may have to overclock your RAM a bit to get the DDR2 800 speed the Motherboard has listed. with a locked multiplier of 7 and running your memory on a 1 to 1 sync with your CPU you would have an FSB of 400Mhz and a CPU clock of 2.8GHz... I believe this is possible with the E6300 though it sounds pretty high, and I do not own one and cannot say for safety's sake that it can be done stabily under stock cooling.

CD/DVD Burner Combo Here... $35
January 13, 2007 5:16:32 PM

Quote:
Hello Tomshardware forumites! I am Scryer, and I am horribly boned as it is right now.

I have a budget of about $700-$800, and am trying to build a competent system to last the next 2 and a half years of video gaming. Basically, if today I can run the latest stuff on the top-of-the-line graphics mode and in December of 2009, the latest stuff is finally getting to the low-end graphics settings, I am happy. Of course, those two years include graphics card updates every year (as they get cheaper).

sure the system will be nice and stable.



There is a conflict between your goal and your budget -if a new directx 10 card is $400 and u need gig of ram, i do not think u can get this done.

805 processor $80 or (amd 64 x2, thats used and cheap)
$35 on the psu with 30 amps on the 12v (better spend more get 40 amps)
get a rebate on case - ultra wizard at frys is free - $50 ($50 rebate) shipping is $20

thats $135

gig of ram get the better ram its $10 more $110
dvd burner $35


nvidia gts $380 after rebate - hopefully the psu will work

set the 805 to run 3.2-3.6ghz you can use the stock intel cooler

windows mce 05 $110 - u get the vista premium coupon, for $13 shipping u have vista
January 14, 2007 12:09:51 AM

Thank you for all the great advice!

I am not including an OS upgrade as part of my price, I already have Vista on order.

Hmmm, 400mhz FSB is all i am looking at right now? shit, looking at what Tomshardware did with that Nvidia board, or hell even the P965, it seems like it would not be too hard to get 600mhz or so, and without that kind of processor clock speed (oh the E6300 can beat that, it beat a Core 2 Extreme, but barely).
January 14, 2007 12:33:45 AM

There may be 1 Motherboard in existence that can allow for a 600MHz FSB... but good Gawd man... that kind of performance is for the pros... stay 400MHZ and under.

And you will not see or feel a diference above DDR2 800 unless your This Guy :) 
January 14, 2007 1:27:38 AM

Hmm, eh, ok. Well, right now actually the specs have changed quite a lot, here is what I am currently looking at:
1. Intel E6300 Conroe- $192
2. Western Digital Caviar 250 gig harddrive- $69.99
4. GECUBE X1800GTOD-VID3 Radeon X1800GTO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16- $129.99 (after mail-in-rebate)
6. Antec True Power Trio TP3-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply with Three 12V Rails 100- $79.99

And then, either your motherboard or a:
MSI 975X Platinum V.2 LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard - $119.99 after mail in rebate
If I go with that motherboard I will use:
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit –$223.99

If I use your motherboard I will use:
Patriot 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model $109.99 (x2)
-IF- that is good quality ram in your opinion.
January 14, 2007 1:35:27 AM

ignore the article in toms - tune for long term reliability not max speed

bottom line is this when u build your system do this:
1) feel all the parts for temps - if the nb is hot or the memory u need to slow it down
2) oc max in the bios u get 90-85% on the desktop as a rule - it takes alot of skill to tell how to set your system(4.6ghz bios is 4.45 stable on 965) (e6300 3.2ghz in the bios is 2.7-2.8 stable desktop)
3) push your system - test it and then back off

follow this guide:

stability test your cpu for 24+ hour stability zero errors - google stability test its #1

adjust your memory voltage higher until the memory starts to get warm

asjust your latency's for the fastest boot

sandra bandwidth test for final settings - for example u can run 3-3-3-8 ddr2 1.8 v at 4-4-4-12 2v or 4-5-4-15 2.1v etc.

highest bandwidth is key

go back and final tune your cpu until the cpu starts to raise 2 degrees c in the bios then back off 10fsb or so


mch or nb should be 1 less then max or max depending again feel the nb -- is really hot the heat sink? add a fan ( i install 40mm fans on asus passive nb heat sinks)

build your system on desk top - and play with it o u find u can fine tune it until it runs much faster many times. as a comparison try default settings - if runs faster on default u did something wrong!


does any of this make sense - i think i am just writing gibberish - lol i am a poor writer!
January 14, 2007 4:02:37 AM

Whew, yes, I did have some trouble reading your post, some of the acronyms like nb and what not were tough, please dont use acronyms around me as I tend to distort them or just miss the point.

Tired are we Dragonslayer? TAke some Starbucks (hands Dragonslayer a espresso).
January 14, 2007 6:10:53 AM

Quote:
Hmm, eh, ok. Well, right now actually the specs have changed quite a lot, here is what I am currently looking at:
1. Intel E6300 Conroe- $192
2. Western Digital Caviar 250 gig harddrive- $69.99
4. GECUBE X1800GTOD-VID3 Radeon X1800GTO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16- $129.99 (after mail-in-rebate)
6. Antec True Power Trio TP3-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply with Three 12V Rails 100- $79.99

And then, either your motherboard or a:
MSI 975X Platinum V.2 LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard - $119.99 after mail in rebate
If I go with that motherboard I will use:
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit –$223.99

If I use your motherboard I will use:
Patriot 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model $109.99 (x2)
-IF- that is good quality ram in your opinion.


The gigabyte board is an overclocker tried and true, but if you like the features on the MSI, it is still an OK board.

The thing that gets me is you chose to change to 1 gig unmatched RAM with the Gigabyte board ***scratches head***

I would personally stick with the Corsairs if they are in your budget.
January 14, 2007 11:26:41 PM

oh no, with the Super Talent memory I would still get 2 gigabytes of RAM, I'd just purchase two individual memory sticks and run them in dual channel mode (wait, that can be done right?)

Hmm, I read someplace that not all brands actually manufacture their own RAM, only a few do, would I be correct to presume that those who manufacture and sell their own RAM to be better (quality wise) than those who just re-brand others RAM? If so, who then is the best maker of RAM (for my kind of price range).
January 15, 2007 1:24:26 AM

Out of being cautious I would still advise against buying unmatched pairs... though the RAM sticks you purchase are of the same make and model number, there is still the chance you get modules that are not made from the same chips...ie... diferent chip makers. There are currently quite a few of them.

You also run the risk of getting and old revision and a new revision... I can't really say if these concerns are worth merrit... it is simply the fact that matched pairs are tested to work together whereas individual sticks are not.

There are a few... you can see them HERE, when you look at the left side of the list you will notice that the chips to the right are by the same name.

Micron is the best chip maker by far, and they own the Crucial brand of memory.
January 15, 2007 6:32:10 AM

Hmmm, the problem with the Corsair Memory arises that I really do not have the money for it, I am already over budget and I have not figured in any taxes I need to pay (ouch).

I was thinking about going to:
OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory –$198.99

And then that Gigabyte Motherboard, but P965 boards require 1.8 volt ram (stupid Intel people), hence while its a great overclocker (as I assume the MSI is, since Tomshardware used it to overclock to a 1600 FSB I believe), I may not be able to afford it as all 1.8 volt DDR2 800 RAM is like $229 for 2 gigs (2 x 1 gigabytes).

However, I have been reading that people have been getting the P965 with 2 volt RAM, IF they have a 1.8 volt stick to put in and change the BIOS first (or in some cases, if you set the RAM in the black slot on the board, and try it a few times, the system will boot so you can manually change the BIOS).

Now, however, because the p965 boards do not have, whats it called, a "mature" BIOS, meaning I'd have to manually set everything, I'd need lots of help setting it up. Is there a place where someone has already built a system using that board and DD2 800 memory, where I can go and just copy exactly what they did to get a 400 mhz FSB?
January 15, 2007 7:05:14 AM

Yeah, dont listen to the 2.2v ram thing, i have 2.1v ram running on a P965 board. Works fine.
January 15, 2007 1:13:16 PM

Yeah... I believe the 1.8v is the minimum for that board... you should be able to push the voltage up.

you should also consider DDR2 667 RAM... you are working with a locked multiplier and the 667 will overclock easier - though you will need fairly decent quality sticks.
Anonymous
a b K Overclocking
January 15, 2007 9:02:25 PM

Hmm, wait, on this thread, they are talking about working with the multiplier. So is changing the multiplier possible? I know hte multiplier is technically locked, but it sounds like it can be changed some, so I could just get a E6300 and set it to a multiplier of 8 then and basically have a E6400 for $30 less?

Also, wouldn't it be easier on the RAM chips, if I was shooting for a 400mhz FSB on the processor, to use DDR2 800, since then I'd have the RAM working at exactly what it was made for (800 megahertz)?

And again, how exactly would I push the voltage up on the P965? apt403 you said you got it to work, how exactly? Did you have to stick 1.8 volt RAM in the board to get to the BIOS, then up the voltage? Because if that is the case, I'd have to buy 1.8 volt RAM.
January 15, 2007 10:21:04 PM

Without having to push the RAM... it would be easier to set the FSB to 333 at the 7x multiplier and achieve a 2.33GHz OC on the CPU and be done.

Pushing the RAM... some decent sticks will go to 800MHz - G.Skill, OCZ, Crucial, Corsair, yada yada yada. Allowing you to pay a little less for the RAM and pushing to 800 with a +.1 to +.2v increase.

I have not used the 667 myself, but have read where micron based sticks reached 900MHz and above... being as the OP is considering overclocking I thought it would be a good start :) 
January 15, 2007 10:57:19 PM

Ok, so taking all this in now....

I think I am ready to order parts, with a snap decision on the RAM based on the feedback to this last post.

I can:
Use an E6300 with stock cooling and achieve 2.13 gigahertz safely, with a 333FSB. Since I'd be running the ratio at 1:1, I don't need anything other than DDR2 667 RAM, and if I go with a good set from Corsair or OCZ, I can later OC the RAM and chip to a 400 FSB and get DDR2 800. I should use the Gigabyte P965 board suggested by PCAnalyst.

Is this setup safe to run on stock cooling (for it all, an added fan in the back of the whole PC of course)?

And if I later wanted to push the chip up to 400mhz FSB, I could just overclock the RAM in there to DDR2 800.

Only question left then I guess is: if I later overclock DDR2 667 RAM to DDR2 800, would I need more cooling on the RAM and processor? I will run the FSB:RAM at 1:1.

Hm, also of note, could I run a E6400, safely on stock cooling, at a 333 FSB? That'd put it at 2.7 gigahertz, and for $30, I may just do it if I suddenly lose bladder control and say what the hell.
January 16, 2007 12:44:00 AM

Quote:

I can:
Use an E6300 with stock cooling and achieve 2.13 gigahertz safely, with a 333FSB. Since I'd be running the ratio at 1:1, I don't need anything other than DDR2 667 RAM, and if I go with a good set from Corsair or OCZ, I can later OC the RAM and chip to a 400 FSB and get DDR2 800. I should use the Gigabyte P965 board suggested by PCAnalyst. There are others in the same class but not to confuse you anymore that one will do nicely

Is this setup safe to run on stock cooling (for it all, an added fan in the back of the whole PC of course)?The stock cooler will easily handle a light overclock

And if I later wanted to push the chip up to 400mhz FSB, I could just overclock the RAM in there to DDR2 800. Make it good quality RAM to be sure

Only question left then I guess is: if I later overclock DDR2 667 RAM to DDR2 800, would I need more cooling on the RAM and processor? I will run the FSB:RAM at 1:1. Depends on the temps you get off the RAM when you overclock... just monitor the temps and have a FAN ready :D 

Hm, also of note, could I run a E6400, safely on stock cooling, at a 333 FSB? That'd put it at 2.7 gigahertz, and for $30, I may just do it if I suddenly lose bladder control and say what the hell.
It would be unwise to say indisputibly yes... there is always a chance the CPU you aquire is not up to the challenge especially on stock cooling... with that said, the 2.66GHz overclock has been achieved by many here and elsewhere on other forumz such as overclockers forums, X-bitlabs, PCPerspective, PCStats... you name it.

Sounds like you have it figured out though... have fun with it
January 16, 2007 2:16:23 AM

Alright then, due to recent (as in, just this morning) application of new budget constraints, and a sudden lack of faith in mail-in-rebates (thereby killing my desire to purchase the OCZ memory), here is my final parts list:

1. Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 1.86GHz 2M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - $195.00 + free shipping
2. Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JSRTL 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s- $59.99 free shipping
3. GIGABYTE GA-965P-S3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - $108.99+ 6.13 shipping
4. SAPPHIRE 100189L Radeon X1900GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16 VIVO HDCP Video Card – $154.99 + $6.13 shipping
5. G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory –$209.99 +4.99 shipping
6. Antec True Power Trio TP3-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply with Three 12V Rails 100- $79.99 + free shipping

Total (before any applicable taxes): $826.20

The DVD Player (thats right, just a player) I have right now is out of an old Hewlett Packard. I need a case now though, the case I was going to use will not physically fit this motherboard. The MOBO in there now (strangely) seems to be 11 inches long by 8 inches wide. I could be measuring it wrong or it could be micro ATX, eitherway I dont know. If there is a case that has a decent power source (two 12 volt rails and 550 watts or more) let me know, im looking but could always mess up.

The memory says it works between 1.8 and 2 volts, people have been using these on P5B boards (which as I understand are only P965 mobos) and they boot up fine. I would get DDR2 667 memory (since the E6300 will be running only at 333 FSB), but if I later decide to go to DDR2 800 (with an overclock), these chips are made for that anyway and should not require anymore cooling.

The only thing that I'm not completely happy with is the processor: if I take it to 400 FSB I'd need a new fan, and an E6400 would run 2.8 Gigahertz with only a 350 FSB. It's a little presumptious, but I think a E6400 would run that on stock cooling, so the E6400 would save me money as I would not need a new fan IF I were to later do 2.8 gigahertz on the processor.

Sigh, so difficult to decide. Anyway, it will most likely be decided after I get over the shell shock of a new $1400 fuel pump for my car (stupid pre-millenial car),
January 16, 2007 2:45:06 AM

The FSB is not on the CPU - its on the Motherboard. Regardless as to how you achieve 2.8GHz... whether it be 350MHz x8 (e6400) or 400MHz x7(e6300) The Cooling requirements will be roughly the same with maybe a slight edge going to the e6400... its confusing.

The e6400 will definately hit 2.8GHz on stock cooling but you will see temperatures close to 60C... The idle temp for the 6400 is somewhere around 40C... so imagine - while playing an intensely graphic demanding game on your Overclocked CPU - your processor is gonna get Hot.

I personally do not let my temps go above 69C though the conroes can handle above for short durations.

My vote if you will - would be to get the e6400 and the 667 RAM... The G.Skills are good and should offer some headroom for OC'n
!